Title: Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense
When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.
Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.
But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.
Across the street the man with the silver-framed glasses stood back in the shadows and stared at the front window of the garden apartment. He could see the back of his quarry’s head as he watched a small flat-screen TV.
Eventually the head nodded forward and then jerked up. When it happened a second time, the creature turned off the TV and then the lamp and headed to bed.
The man waited for another half hour with his back pressed against an alcove formed where two brownstones met. The street was quiet. Almost no one walked by, and the lone person who came down the street failed to notice him in the shadows.
The man felt his breath grow hoarse, and blood rushed in his ears as his heart began to pound. He cultivated that sensation as he reached into his coat pocket for the screwdriver that rested there and made himself imagine the creature’s hands touching the Beloved’s face. Stroking his body. He curled his fingers around the screwdriver and then clenched and unclenched rhythmically. Its thick handle felt rough against his palm because of the grooves and sharp edges he had chiseled into it. He had ideas for other implements that would serve his purpose, but for now, this would do just fine. This would make his point.
His throat was dry, and his eyes burned from focusing on the darkened window, but he felt invincible. The tension in his body climbed exquisitely, and when he could take no more, he slipped across the street and stepped down to the locked gate. It opened easily with his small set of picks. The gate made no noise when the creature went through it earlier, so he was confident and quick and didn’t bother to lock it behind him. Child’s play, he thought as he worked the lock on the apartment door.
The tumblers clicked into place.
He stored his lockpicks, slipped inside the darkened apartment, and then closed the door behind him as silently as he could. Streetlight came through the slatted blinds the boy had failed to close completely. He waited quietly until he heard a faint snore from the back and then removed his glasses and tucked them in an inside pocket of his jacket. The scarf his quarry had been wearing caught his eye, and the man bared his teeth as he lifted it off the coat tree and tugged it tightly between his hands. It was well made. It would hold. He smiled.
He slid through the gloom toward the room where the creature lay sleeping. He was hard, and the blood in his erection pulsed in time to the pounding of his heart. That boy had dared to touch his Beloved. He had probably even been fucked by him. But that wasn’t enough—oh no. He came back for more.
It had taken the man so long to find his Beloved and interpret his subtle clues. He finally understood what was required of him. The undeserving gnat must be chastised, and he would be the Beloved’s angel of retribution. He was conscious of the weight of the screwdriver in his pocket, the scratch of the wool scarf in his hands, and the power in his arms.
He reached for the boy on the bed.
The Gift of Reading
I wonder whether any of this will sound familiar to you. My mother started reading to me when I was still an infant, and cultivated in me a love of books that has sustained me throughout my life. She was a voracious reader herself, and spent countless hours indulging in her favorite books. Her tastes were eclectic – she loved Stephen King, Rosamunde Pilcher, Agatha Christie, Danielle Steel, and James Michener.
I don’t recall going through a phase of her reading true children’s books to me; in fact, the first one I can remember was Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She read to me from the Arabian Nights, Grimms Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen, and Roald Dahl. Pretty soon, I was flying through books on my own. I do remember a first-grade teacher getting upset when she asked me to read aloud about Dick and Jane and Spot, I rolled my eyes at her and said, “You have got to be kidding.”
I survived the talking-to I earned for my sass, though, and teachers usually came to grips with letting me read what I wanted instead of the prescribed elementary school curriculum. I suppose my love of mysteries came from an early exposure to Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. (I was never into reading The Hardy Boys; I think hot teenage brothers – even fictional ones – made me nervous long before I connected the dots and understood why Joe and Frank were so much scarier, i.e., desirable to me, than Nancy and her pals.)
Fantasy was my main jam – I found the Chronicles of Narnia when I was in second or third grade. I loved a series by Edward Eager that included Half Magic and Knight’s Castle, and those led me to E. Nesbit’s wonderful books. I read almost all of the Oz series. Then came The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and I was a goner.
The downside of all this was that I was a complete book worm while my older brothers were popular and athletic. We moved fairly often when I was a child, and though my brothers never seemed to have trouble making friends and getting settled in to a new city, I was always shy and introverted. I liked to hide in the library at lunch instead of playing with the other kids, to the point my teachers would write notes to my parents about it. My mom understood, though. She knew it wasn’t that I was antisocial or troubled. I was just happy living in all these wonderful worlds that I found between the covers of a book. (If the teachers kept insisting, I would occasionally go out to play. I usually ended up skipping rope with the girls in my class while the little hetero boys glowered because they didn’t know how to get close to any of the girls.)
I still read like someone evil is going to take away all the books tomorrow. The advent of the Kindle was a blessing both in terms of its portability and the fact that I could hold on to so many books after I finished reading them!
A few years before she died, my mother suffered a stroke that left her with only slight paralysis but with aphasia. She lost the ability to read because she couldn’t keep her eyes on one line of print, and frankly she was too stubborn to learn any of the techniques that have helped people with dyslexia or other kinds of vision-related problems. She tried audio but always said they made her nervous because she didn’t know what to do with her hands without a book in them.
It made me sad that my mother – who had given me the precious gift of reading – lost it herself. Still, when I pick up a book today, I remember rainy Sundays when she’d be sprawled on the couch with her novel while I had my nose buried in another. That’s a gift even more profound than of reading.
Meet the Author
Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.
Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.
Blog Tour Schedule
May 8 – Stories That Make You Smile | Books, Dreams, Life
May 9 – Two Chicks Obsessed | Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
May 10 – Oh My Shelves | Butterfly-o-Meter Books
May 11 – Bayou Book Junkie | Boy Meets Boy Reviews
May 12 – Urban Smoothie Read | Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words